Connect with us

News

Criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity in Sri Lanka breached rights of a LGBTI activist, UN women’s rights committee says

Published

on

GENEVA – Sri Lanka violated the rights of a lesbian and leading LGBTI activist who was subjected to discrimination, threats and abuses due to the country’s Penal Code that criminalises same-sex sexual activity, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has found.

In its decision published yesterday, CEDAW found that Sri Lanka has breached the rights of Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, the founder and Executive Director of Equal Ground, an organisation defending the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in Sri Lanka.

Flamer-Caldera has been supporting lesbian and bisexual women in defending their rights after discovering in 1997 that the country’s Penal Code, which criminalises same-sex sexual activity, had been amended to include also sexual conduct between women. Since then, Flamer-Caldera has suffered high-profile attacks on her character, and she and her organisation have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, stigmatization and threats of violence by State officials and members of the public, including the press and social media.

In 2012 and 2013, the Women and Children’s Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police used Flamer-Caldera’s photo and her position with Equal Ground in presentations to assert that the rise of child abuse was mainly due to the “growing homosexual culture”. They claimed that she and her organisation were responsible for “spreading” homosexuality, implying that they were also responsible for “spreading” paedophilia.

Despite facing harassment and stigmatization, Flamer-Caldera did not complain to the police as she was worried she would be arrested. As a result of the amended Penal Code, she has been under constant risk of arrest, detention and investigation of her private life and has had to modify her behaviour.

Flamer-Caldera brought her case to the Committee and claimed that the criminalisation of female same-sex sexual activity and the concomitant potential for arrest and prosecution amount to discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation, violating her right to non-discrimination.

“Ms. Flamer-Caldera has been frequently threatened and harassed by the police, the media and the public, but she has been unable to report these abuses out of fear of being arrested,” said Committee member Hiroko Akizuki.

“The criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity has meant that the discrimination, violence and harassment on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in Sri Lanka will continue with impunity,” she added.

CEDAW found that the Sri Lankan authorities have subjected Flamer-Caldera to gender-based discrimination and violence.

It found that the Sri Lankan authorities had not taken any legal or other measures to respect and protect Flamer-Caldera’s right to a life free from gender-based violence or to eliminate the prejudices to which she has been exposed as a woman, lesbian and activist.

It also found that the authorities have breached her right to access to justice to complain of the abuses and her right to non-discrimination concerning her family relations.

The Committee urged Sri Lanka to decriminalise same-sex sexual conduct. It also requested that the State take immediate and effective action to stop the threats, harassment and abuse, which Flamer-Caldera has been subjected to, and to take criminal procedures to hold those responsible to account. – ohchr.org



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Businesses can collapse due to electricity tariff increase next year– Patali

Published

on

Patali Champika Ranawaka

The Cabinet has approved increase in electricity tariffs in two stages in January and June 2023.

The disclosure was made on Tuesday (29) at a meeting of the Sub Committee on Identifying the Short & Medium-Term Programmes, related to Economic Stabilisation of the National Council.

The government increased power tariffs in August this year.

Parliament announced that although the electricity tariffs had been increased in the recent past, the CEB was still running at a loss.

The representatives of the government and private institutions related to the power sector were called before the Committee to obtain proposals for the purpose of solving the issues in the power sector.

In order to cover the current losses of the CEB, electricity tariffs had to be increased by about 70%, the statement issued by Parliament quoted CEB representatives as having said.

The statement quoted Chairman of the Committee, Patali Champika Ranawaka, as having said that if electricity tariffs were increased to cover CEB’s losses, businesses could collapse as a result.

It was also disclosed that the CEB currently owed nearly 650 billion rupees as outstanding debt to various parties including banks and electricity suppliers. The Electricity Board representative stated that out of the amount to be paid, nearly Rs. 35 billion were to be paid to the organisations that supplied renewable energy, and 75 billion rupees are to be paid to Thermal power suppliers. Thus, it expects to pay at least part of what it owes the suppliers from the 50-billion-rupee loan to be received. (SF)

Continue Reading

News

PMD claims President’s response misinterpreted

Published

on

President Ranil Wickremesinghe denied recent media reports stating that the Provincial Councils will be replaced with the District Development Committees.

Issuing a press release his media division said President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s response in Parliament on Tuesday has been misinterpreted.

Wickremesinghe’s media Division said that in response to a statement by former President Maithripala Sirisena, the President stated that the District Development Committees (DDCs) would be established within the Provincial Councils.

The DDCs would provide a platform for coordination between thegovernment, the Provincial Councils and the Local Government bodies for all executive decisions, the Media Division said.

“This will ensure the process is not duplicated and will reduce financial wastage. Apart from that, the president has not made any statement about the dissolution of provincial councils.”

Continue Reading

News

Kumudesh: Top bureaucrat demands service extension from Minister’s daughter to approve shady deal

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

A senior official of the Ministry of Health has asked the daughter of a Cabinet Minister to help him obtain a service extension in return for approving a controversial tender for medical supplies, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) Ravi Kumudesh says.

Kumudesh told The Island yesterday that the Minister’s daughter was working for a company that supplied oxygen generators.

“The official told the Minister’s daughter that he would grant the tender to a company of his choice to ensure a comfortable retirement and if her company wanted to secure the contract he should be given an extension in service.”

Kumudesh said the money for the medical equipment was to be paid through the grants from the Global Fund. The World Bank is a major contributor to the Global Fund.

“Officials can grant these tenders to companies of their choice by changing criteria. They make small technical specifications to ensure that only one company qualifies. These officials are a law unto themselves.”

Health Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Continue Reading

Trending